Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson has launched a blistering attack on Donald Trump’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary after he referred to slaves as “immigrants”.
Ben Carson, himself an African-American, told staff at his department that “immigrants” who arrived on slave ships worked hard in order to build a better life for their families.
"There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less," said Mr Trump's former rival for the Republican presidential nomination.
"But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land."
Dr Carson was widely criticised for comparing slaves, who were forcibly removed from their homes and taken to America to work for nothing, to immigrants, who entered America by choice.
Jackson also condemned the comments on Twitter, writing: “OK!! Ben Carson....I can't! Immigrants? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! MUTHAF---- PLEASE!!!".
Other social media users were quick to criticise Dr Carson, a neurosurgeon.
A Housing and Urban Development Department spokesman later attempted to quell the controversy, calling it “the most cynical interpretation of the secretary's remarks to an army of welcoming HUD employees”.
He added: “No one honestly believes he equates voluntary immigration with involuntary servitude”.
Dr Carson also sought to clarify his comments in a post on his Facebook page.
He wrote: “The slave narrative and immigrant narrative are two entirely different experiences. Slaves were ripped from their families and their homes and forced against their will after being sold into slavery by slave traders.
“The Immigrants made the choice to come to America. They saw this country as a land of opportunity. In contrast, slaves were forced here against their will and lost all their opportunities. We continue to live with that legacy.
The two experiences should never be intertwined, nor forgotten, as we demand the necessary progress towards an America that's inclusive and provides access to equal opportunity for all.”
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